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Herbert L. Strock
Questioned as a murder suspect, solid (but drunk) citizen Al Willis attacks his police questioners, is beaten, and swears vengeance against them. Next night, Lieut. Parks is murdered; Willis is the only suspect in the eyes of tough Chief Conroy, who pursues him doggedly despite lack of evidence. The obsessed Conroy is dismissed from the force, but continues to harass Willis, who flees to a sleazy town on the Mexican border. Of course, Conroy follows. But which is crazy, Conroy or Willis? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The provocatively titled "Naked Alibi" is fairly typical of film noir in the 50s. By this point, the visual style epitomized by noirs of the 40s had lost much of its mysterious, oppressive quality. This is more of a 'film gris', though there are a few scenes that have a classic noir look and feel, particularly in the alley, after the barroom shootout in Tijuana.
The Gene Barry character, too, is consistent with the noir canon: a 'damned' character, immersed in evil to the end. Gloria Grahame's character is also typically damned. And the Sterling Hayden role completes the triangle: well-intentioned, but maniacally obsessed with his own mission of justice.
Hayden is good here, in his awkward, lesser-Mitchum way. Grahame--a limited actress--fares well enough, but a poorly dubbed singing performance does not flatter her. Best of the three is Gene Barry, who manages to mix a small amount of humanity into his villainous role. Chuck Connors is noticeable, but barely registers in a very small part.
"Naked Alibi"--a small cut above the average 50s B film noir.
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